Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Will Power finds trouble at Grand Prix

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Will Power ran his fingers through his ruffled hair as he surveyed his scarred No. 12 Chevy and listened to the apology of the one who wrecked it.

The four-time pole sitter and 2010 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner led the first 26 laps and opened up an early 11-second lead before his Team Penske car ran into trouble.

Power was running in third near the end of a caution period with 30 laps left when he and the leaders slowed down. JR Hildebrand didn't.

"It was totally my fault," said Hildebrand, who was not on the lead lap, "and I feel super sorry for Will and Team Penske."

Hildebrand said he glanced down at his control panel and didn't see the leaders check up. He kept going, and his No. 4 Panther Racing Chevy drove over the right side of Power and smacked the outside wall near Turn 10.

The wreck slashed Power's right-rear tire and knocked off his mirror, forcing him to pit and drop to the end of the lead lap. Then with six laps to go, the three-time IndyCar Series runnerup hit the tires in Turn 4. Power finished 16th — his worst result in six runs in St. Petersburg.

"It's racing," Power said. "If nothing ever happened in racing, man, it'd be boring — and we'd probably win a lot more races."

Sunday was also unkind to two other championship contenders.

Four-time series champion and 2011 race winner Dario Franchitti tried to make up ground early with his struggling Honda but exited the pits too quickly with cold tires. His Chip Ganassi Racing machine smacked into the outside wall in Turn 3, ending his day after 18 laps.

Franchitti finished last in the 25-car field, which tied the worst result of his series career.

"We've really struggled with the Target car this weekend ..." Franchitti said. "We're a long, long way from where we need to be."

So was defending series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay. The Fort Lauderdale resident's throttle got stuck on Lap 64, leading to a collision with Graham Rahal. A gearbox problem parked his No. 1 Chevy in 18th place with 79 laps left.

Mechanical breakdowns kept two Grand Prix dark horses from capitalizing on the usual suspects' struggles.

Oriol Servia took advantage of a different pit strategy to inherit the lead on Lap 46, and he staved off Power, Helio Castroneves and eventual winner James Hinchcliffe to hold onto first place for the first time since the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

"It really gave me hopes," Servia said.

But when he pitted on Lap 61, his No. 22 Chevy stalled. He finished 17th.

St. Petersburg resident Tristan Vautier showed promise in his series debut. The rookie ran as high as fourth and never fell out of the top seven until his exhaust failed after 69 laps, dropping him to a 21st-place finish.

"It's just part of racing," Vautier said.

Matt Baker can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MattHomeTeam.

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 10 hours ago